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FCC Prepares Fines for DTV-Set Slip-Ups

The Federal Communications Commission released the agenda for its April 10 public meeting and it appears "exercised" already over some digital-TV-equipment manufacturers and retailers.

Absent from the list is consideration of a proposed raft of measures to help low-power broadcasters make the switch to digital -- or hold onto viewers in the interim -- but there were four Enforcement Bureau items teed up and targeting tech companies for allegedly failing to follow FCC rules on DTV-equipment manufacture, distribution and labeling.

According to the agenda, the commission will consider fines against: 1) nine manufacturers for failing to build digital TVs that work sufficiently well with the V-chip/TV-ratings system, as required by FCC rules; 2) 14 consumer-electronics retailers  for violating the FCC's requirements that they label analog-only TV's as such; 3) against a single manufacturer -- it did not say which -- for importing and shipping analog-only TVs, as well as misrepresenting itself in filings; and 4) an "exercise equipment manufacturer" for importing analog-only.

The agenda announcement came just as the Consumer Electronics Association was wrapping up its annual forum in Washington, D.C., but the timing of the agenda release April 3 was to give the requisite seven days' notice before the hearing.